Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Thought To Ponder

"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk?"
~ Albert Einstein

Friday, December 16, 2011

Giving and Receiving With Grace

In the coming weeks, the No. 1 question most of us will be asked is, "What did you get?" While the Christmas season is rooted in the Christian faith -- a faith that teaches benevolent and charitable giving -- Buddha, too, offered a succinct lesson in giving and getting.

When we give to others, we give without expectation of reward. We give without attachment to either the gift or the recipient. The practice of giving is thought to be one of the most basic human virtues, a testament to the depth of our humanity, and for Buddhists, one's capacity for self-transcendence.

Author Karen Armstrong makes the observation that the concept of self-transcendence is bound up with the golden rule: "Treating others as you yourself would like to be treated." When we transcend our limited self, this rule becomes an inherent part of our own nature, and other people an extended part of our own reality. For this reason, learning to receive is equally vital.

Read more ...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Do You Shy Away From Conflict?

Conflict is a critical event in the course of a relationship. Conflict can cause resentment, hostility, and perhaps the ending of that relationship. However, conflict can be productive and lead to deeper understanding, mutual respect, and closeness.

Do you shy away from conflict? Which of the following statements may reflect your approach to conflict?

• My underlying anger may get out of control.
• To me, conflict is an all-or-nothing situation.
• I find it difficult to face conflict because I feel inadequate.
• I have difficulty positively asserting my views and feelings.

*Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

Have a joyful day everyone...
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thoughts On Success

"Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire." -- Arnold H. Glasgow

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." -- Albert Schweitzer

Have a joyful day - Rita
Visit my website at http://www.ritaschiano.com

Please consider following our page about living a flourishing life. Thank you. https://www.facebook.com/LiveAFlourishingLife

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thoughts on Obstacles

I view any obstacle that gets in my way as an opportunity to learn something new. Here are a few other perspectives on the topic...

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal." -- Author Unknown

"If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere." -- Frank A. Clark

"Obstacles don't have to stop you.If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." -- Michael Jordan

"The obstacle is the path." -- Zen Buddhist Saying

...and my personal favorite

"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." -- Christopher Reeve

Have a joyful day!
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

Please consider following our page about living a flourishing life. Thank you. https://www.facebook.com/LiveAFlourishingLife

Photo source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Reeve

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thoughts On Vision

Thoughts on Vision
"People only see what they are prepared to see." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens." -- Carl Jung

"The most pathetic man in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision."
Helen Keller

"Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe." -- Oprah Winfrey

"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them--a desire, a dream, a vision." -- Muhammad Ali

Have a joyful day - Rita
Visit my website at http://www.ritaschiano.com

Please consider following our page about living a flourishing life. Thank you. http://www.facebook.com/LiveAFlourishingLife

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Lesson In Resilience

On a brisk September day in 1620, 102 passengers and a crew of roughly 30 left England embarking on a grueling 66-day journey marked by disease and death. According to history, the Pilgrims undertook the voyage to escape religious persecution in England. The Mayflower, originally destined for the mouth of the Hudson River at the northern edge of England's Virginia colony, went off course and settled in Cape Cod Bay. All surviving passengers moved ashore and colonized at Plymouth.

What we learn from the Pilgrim story is a remarkable example of the resilience. The resilient pilgrims had the ability to look at critical situations in a new way, finding creative approaches toward solving a problem.
(Read more)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Life Is What You Do

In 1969, Joseph Stein together with John Kander (music) and Fred Ebb (lyrics) adapted the novel Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis into a Broadway musical. The show opens (and ends) with the song "Life Is," with lyrics that bolster Alexis Zorba's credo that you must grab life while you can.

In 1978, I was a graduate student and teaching assistant with the philosophy department at Miami University. One interdisciplinary course that I taught was "Confronting Death." During class one day, I asked my students, "If you were given the option to know when you were going to die, would you want to know?"

While some said no, others were adamant about their yes. Pressing on a bit I then asked, "What would be the benefit of that knowledge?"

Many students thought it would help them to plan their lives. I recall comments such as:

Read full blog...

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

How Distracted Are You?

It is not surprising that modern day life is often referred to as the "culture of distraction." We are bombarded with information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And yet, most of us cannot get enough. We channel surf, search the Web, talk and text, drive and text, drive and talk, drive and talk and text. It is no wonder we are driven to distraction.

The term "multi-tasking" originated in the computer engineering industry, and refers to the simultaneous execution of more than one program or task by a single computer processor. What we engage in is human multi-tasking -- the performance by an individual of appearing to handle more than one task at the same time. The operative word being "appearing."

When you stop and think about it, the human brain is really quite amazing. According to a study conducted at the University of California, San Diego, the average American consumes 34 gigabytes worth of information a day, that's about 100,000 words. Now, clearly we don't parse a full 100,000 words each day, but that rather staggering figure does infiltrate our eyes and ears and minds via the Internet, television, radio, iPods, text messaging, cell phones, video games, Wii and oh so much more.
Read full blog...

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Connect With Your Friends

When is the last time you heard the voice of a friend or loved one who you don't see regularly? How often do you find yourself thinking, "I need to give (fill in the name) a call" and then days, weeks, even months later you have the same thought because you never made the call?

One of the main reasons we don't make the call is because "life" gets in the way -- family obligations, kids ballgames or concerts, household tasks, to name a few -- and we let those friendships slide. While we have good intentions to get together, to share a meal, we unintentionally keep delaying and delaying that get-together or phone call, putting it off to tomorrow, the next day, and then the next. And as the old maxim goes: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Time slips past us much too rapidly. I learned this lesson all too well and too painfully a few years ago. I had a lovely friend named Lydia. She didn't live that far from me -- about seven or eight miles away. Whenever I would bump into her at the grocery store, or see her at a gathering, I'd relish our brief time together.
Read full blog...

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Friday, September 16, 2011

About Resilient People

Resilient people have a penchant for learning. They have the ability to reflect upon and recognize objectively their strengths and weaknesses. This self-reflection helps them gain insight into their current circumstances, opening them to new ideas and new tactics for dealing with crises.

Resilient people have the ability to look at critical situations in a new way, finding creative approaches towards solving a problem. They recognize that life is a series of good times and not so good times, and that you need the bad to appreciate the good. Hard times build character, creating positive lessons that better equip us to cope in the future.

How resilient are you? Visit my web site and download my free "Self-evaluation Resilience Test.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

Follow Live A Flourishing Life on Facebook!

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

*Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

Friday, September 9, 2011

On 9/11 Anniversary, Channel Your Stress Positively

It was about 7:15 a.m. Mountain Standard Time when the phone rang that Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, 2001. We were packing our suitcases, preparing for the second leg of our Colorado vacation. Suddenly, a cry rang out from upstairs. "Turn the television on! Hurry! Something horrible is happening!" As our friends scrambled downstairs, we bumped into one another in the rush to get to the television in the adjacent room. The screen came to life, and the first image I saw was the instant replay of United Flight 175, the second plane, flying into the south tower. I watched in horror over the next hour as the twin towers burned and then crumbled to the ground.

New York City had been my home several years before moving to Massachusetts. I had attended business meetings in those towers, ate at the Windows On The World restaurant. I knew tens of thousands of people worked in those buildings. And the most horrifying thought of all -- I had family and friends who worked there. Despite my psychological paralysis, I kicked into gear, calling the car rental company to see if I could change my local use contract to a one-way, 2,000-mile trip with a drop-off in Massachusetts. All I wanted to do was get home.

As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on our nation draws near, we find ourselves bombarded with a multitude of "Remembering 9/11" documentaries and special reports featuring images ...

Read full blog...

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Attitude is Everything

When it comes to resilience, attitude really is everything. Having an optimistic view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities creates conditions for success and healthier living.

To start, let me be clear. When I talk of optimism, I do not mean that rose-colored glasses, Pollyannaish-way of looking at the world. True optimists know bad things happen; they experience tragedy just like everyone else. But what separates optimists from their pessimistic brothers and sisters is how they move forward in their thinking and actions relative to those events.

Much of the way we view the world has been shaped by the messages we received as children. I was fortunate to grow up with women who were remarkable optimists. My mother and my maternal grandmother -- women who lived through great difficulties, such as the Great Depression, single-parenting, loss of children and spouses -- still managed to demonstrate the belief that things will always work out in the end. They taught me to live life with anticipation and a hopeful expectation towards a desired outcome predicated not on wishful thinking, but through dedication and commitment to the goal. (Read the full blog at The Huffington Post and AOL Healthy Living)

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How Well Do You Weather Life's Storms?

Willa Cather wrote: "There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm." How well we weather the tempests in life, how quickly we bounce back from adversities and calamities, depends largely on our level of resilience.

Research on resilience has shown us that people who cannot deal with their emotions may become more narrow-minded and rigid in their view of themselves and their place in the world. A lack of understanding of our personal histories -- what Aristotle called the habits that serve us and the habits that don't serve us -- keeps us from adapting when new stresses affect us. We fall back on old thought patterns, old behaviors that keep us spinning our wheels and stuck in the muck and mire of dysfunction. You know the scenario: Different situation, different set of circumstance, same old lousy outcome.... (Read full blog at The Huffington Post and AOL Healthy Living.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Live's Little Annoyances (Don't Let Them Get To You)

Critical, and sometimes life-altering, situations can happen that throw us totally off kilter: losing one's job, developing a serious illness (oneself or a loved one), or natural disasters such as floods, paralyzing snow and/or ice storms, hurricanes or tornadoes. How well we weather these devastating, out of our control circumstances depends on the strength of our resiliency.

Resilience, as defined by the American Psychological Association, is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress. It is the ability to "bounce back" after a major disruption in our lives.

Yet, there is another realm of situations, also out of our control,... (Read full post at The Huffington Post and AOL Healthy Living.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

8 Ways To Bring Stillness Into Your Life

Deepak Chopra wrote: "Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it. There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge, and stability that come from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence."

Noise is a prime environmental cause of stress. Noise pollution triggers the body's stress response, releasing stress hormones into your autonomic nervous system. In recent years, stress hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol have been used in noise studies to gauge the association between noise exposure and heart disease, hypertension and stress. (Read full post at The Huffington Post and AOL Healthy Living.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Getting Things Done

Often what stops us from getting things done is the size of the task at hand. Kaizen, a Japanese management concept for incremental (gradual, continuous) change (improvement); breaking tasks into small, manageable steps is an excellent method for approaching most any task we have to do.

Kaizen is also a way of life philosophy based on making little changes on a regular basis. Kaizen is about finding new, creative, and effective ways to improve one’s life…from tackling the mundane to managing our stress, to attaining our life vision.

Want to put Kaizen in action in your life? Visit my web site and download your free Kaizen In Action worksheet!

Have a joyful day everyone...
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

*From Live A Flourishing Life

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Stress Triggers: And How To Identify Yours

Each of us has situations that can make our heart race, our blood boil -- deadlines, interviews and teenagers, to name a few. Knowing what causes you stress is vital and powerful information and the beginning steps toward living a healthier, stress-reduced life.

Stress is the body's reaction to a mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition; to adverse external influences capable of affecting our physical health. Many of us are so accustomed to stress that we are blind to the effects it has on our bodies. In an article... (Read full post at The Huffington Post and AOL Healthy Living.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Letting Go of Yesterday's Hurts

If you can tell a story about how you were wronged last month, last year, five, even 10 years ago with the same vehemence, anger and ire, then you have not let go of it! What happened has happened. What was done is done. Over, finis.

Like a dog with a bone, we can gnaw on old wounds or injustices, reliving every detail over and over, thereby keeping them raw in our minds. Picking at our painful past keeps us from healing psychically and emotionally and threatens our physical health. Letting go increases physical and emotional well-being.

Read full post at AOL Healthy Living and The Huffington Post.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Paying Attention in Class Saved Family’s Life

Wednesday, June 1 was like most end-of-the-school-year days. The classroom was hot and stuffy, as was the air outside, thick and heavy with moisture…telltale signs of a storm brewing. Nothing about the day seemed out of the ordinary. Strong thunderstorms are not uncommon when hot, moist air co-mingles with a cold front. It was just a typical New England spring weather day.

Nearing the end of the school day, the 3rd grade teachers in 9-year-old Megan Frisella’s class had completed the day’s lesson plan. Being conscientious teachers, they opted to introduce a new lesson and selected a study plan about wind. In the remaining minutes of class that day, Megan and her classmates learned about the power of wind to foster energy, and they learned about the dangers of wind in hurricanes and tornadoes. Little did anyone know — or even conceive of the probability — that this last minute lesson would save a family’s life.

A few hours after Megan returned home from school Amy Frisella, Megan’s mother, heard that a tornado may be headed for their hometown of Sturbridge, MA. Megan spoke up and told her mother, “My teacher said you got to get away from the windows and go to a safe room.”

Now, the last tornado to hit in Central Massachusetts occurred in 1953, and so Megan’s mom was bracing for nothing more than a severe thunderstorm. However, having listened to her daughter talk about what she learned in school, Amy decided to treat the situation like a fire drill.

She took Megan and Megan’s 6-year-old sister Hailey, their 2 cats and the hamster, to the “safe room” in the basement where there were no windows, just as Megan had been taught. Less than a minute later, the house shook.

“It was just like a movie,” said Megan’s mom. “It sounded like a train.” Twenty seconds later, covered in soot, the Frisella’s emerged from the basement to discover their home had been severely damaged by a tornado.

The Frisella family is alive and unharmed today because of several factors…teachers who embraced their role as educators, who taught an extra lesson rather than blowing off the remaining minutes of the class period; a young girl who paid attention in class and who listened to her teachers; a parent who listened to her child and who recognized the value of a teachable moment.

At KidsTerrain, we believe that children, families, and teachers are life's greatest treasures. And we believe in the value of listening and talking to kids. On Wednesday, June 6, teachers talked, a child listened, a child talked, a parent listened, and a family’s life was saved.

Written for KidsTerrain, Inc. Reprinted here with permission.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tornado Relief Centers Supplies Needed

URGENT HELP NEEDED - Area tornado relief centers are in need of donated plastic bins to collect personal items. They also need licensed and insured tree service people with bucket trucks. Contact Alix McNitt at the Chamber of Commerce in Sturbridge at 774-200-4157 if you can help.

Central Massachusetts communities effected by tornadoes include: Sturbridge, Brimfield, Monson, Southbridge, Charlton, as well as Springfield and West Springfield in the western part of the Commonwealth.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Seize Your Power

Happiness is as much about what you don't want as it is about what you do want. You have much more power over your happiness level than you probably realize. When you make positive changes in yourself and your environment, you raise your disposition toward happiness.

Studies show a big gap between what we believe will make us happy and what actually does. Often, we have the tendency to overestimate how things will affect us, thinking we'll be much happy “When” or “Down the road.”

So stay in the moment. Focus on happiness here and now.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Handling Rejection

Fear is a distressing negative emotion brought on by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism that triggers the 'fight or flight' response. Our fears, however, can often take on a life of their own and stop us dead in our tracks.

Rejection is an irrational fear that others will not accept us for who we are. Fear of rejection is one of those insidious, perceived threats that can hold us back, keep us from achieving our goals. Fear of rejection pervades our minds, often rendering us incapable of doing or saying anything for fear of others' rejection, lack of acceptance, or disapproval.

Yet, there will be times in our lives when we will face rejection. How will you handle rejection if it does happen? To start, be prepared. Identify your limiting thoughts, such as...
  • People dislike me
  • I am a failure
  • I am not worthy of their approval
...and then dismiss them one by one. To do so effectively you need to build your self-esteem. And you build self-esteem by understanding your self-worth.

So make this list instead...
  • People like me because...
  • I have been successful in...
  • I am worthy of others' approval because...
Work on your self-worth list everyday by adding just one good trait about you. Remember my equation:

Self-confident + Self-worth = Self-esteem

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Importance of Resilience in Light of World Events

Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. 
Resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that 
can be learned and developed in anyone.
~ The National Institute of Mental Health

May people have expressed concern that the death of Osama Bin Laden could increase the threat of a domestic attack. How well one will weather the aftermath of another attack on our nation depends on the strength of one's resilience.

Resilience, as defined by the American Psychological Association, is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress. It is the ability to ‘bounce back’ to homeostasis after a disruption in our lives.

Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. Rather, resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone. Research on resilience has also shown us that people who cannot deal with their emotions, fear in particularly, may become more narrow-minded and rigid in their view of the themselves and their place in the world.

Building a resilience plan may reduce the frequency and intensity of post-traumatic stress disorders and other health problems that occur after a national or a personal disaster, allowing those affected to recover more quickly and completely.

To get a snapshot of how resilient you are, think back to September 11, 2001.  Recall how you felt in the hours, days, and weeks following those horrific events.
  • Did you find yourself glued to the news channels throughout that day, and the days that followed? How did you feel watching the news?
  • How safe did you feel?
  • Did you participate in any religious or community memorial services?
  • Did you drink more alcohol, smoke more, or start smoking cigarettes since the attacks?
For more information on how you can develop your resilience, visit my web site, www.ritaschiano.com

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

*Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pay It Forward Day

Today, April 29th, is Pay It Forward Day, the annual celebration of the belief that each of us has the power to better someone’s life simply by doing small, random acts of kindness, particularly anonymously.

The idea is to do a kindness without the expectation of being paid back or rewarded, with the hope that the recipient pays the favor forward by helping someone else. The premise was put forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde in her back (and later the movie) Pay It Forward.

As you go through your day today, keep this in mind. Do a random act of kindness, and keep it to yourself. And if you are on the receiving end, pay it forward.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Defeating Powerlessness

"When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. 
But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes 
from knowing you are working to make things better."
~ Pauline R. Kezer

There are many reasons why we may feel powerless. We may feel defeat and despair because we hold on to the belief that we do not have the power to change things -- that the world is far too complicated and little is within our control -- and so we simply give up.

Sure, there will be circumstances that we truly can't change. Yet, we are never wholly powerless in any situation because we always have the choice as to how we will respond to it.

Resilient people embrace flexibility in their thinking and in their actions. Resilient thinkers embrace a constellation of ideas and then critically explore the possibilities in order to discover new patterns of probabilities.

And once we can see that there are options, we feel hopeful and we begin to take action. Resilient thinking shifts us from powerlessness to powerfulness.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Stay Connected

The strength of our connections to others is a key factor in determining our resiliency. Caring relationships that convey understanding, respect, and mutual interests vital.

Are you giving the people who matter greatly to you enough of your time? Or have your connections dwindled to 140 character on Twitter or 160 on Facebook?

When is the last time you picked up the telephone and spoke with a dear friend or met him or her for a cup of tea or coffee?

Take a few moments to ponder this question: How can you strengthen and build your connection to others, particularly the people in your support network?

An underlying stronghold of resilience is cohesion, a sense of belonging, and communication. Stay connected.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Just For Today...

As many of my readers and students are aware I believe in the kaizen approach, that is, on making little changes on a regular basis. Kaizen is about finding new, creative and effective ways to improve one’s life…from tackling the mundane to managing our stress, to attaining our life vision.

So just for today, I will focus on living this day positively. I will seek out an inspirational quote or a few paragraphs that will guide me, or I will watch a short video clip that will inspire me to take a positive action.

What will you do for yourself, just for today?

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

What I learned today...

There are three distinct kinds of happiness: the Pleasant Life (pleasures), the Good Life (engagement), and the Meaningful Life. The first two are subjective, but the third is at least partly objective and lodges in belonging to and serving what is larger and more worthwhile than the just the self's pleasures and desires.

Authentic Happiness synthesizes all three traditions: The Pleasant Life is about happiness in Hedonism's sense. The Good Life is about happiness in Desire's sense, and the Meaningful Life is about happiness in Objective List's sense.

Authentic Happiness further allows for the "Full Life," a life that satisfies all three criteria of happiness.

Excerpt from Authentic Happiness

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Key to Success....The Four D's

I was blessed to have two very resilient women in my life when I was a child -- my mother and my maternal grandmother. These remarkable women both had indomitable strength, fortitude, and grace. They instilled in me a belief that most anything in life was attainable if I set my focus and determination on my goal.

In my mid-twenties, and with their advice in mind, I created a guide for myself which I call The Four D's. No matter what I have set out to achieve in my life, I use The Four D's as my guideposts.

Desire - Know what you want to achieve
Direction - Plan how to get there
Dedication - Commit to your goal
Discipline - Work at it every day

I carry with me a little card with these words printed on it. If you'd like one of my cards, contact me via www.ritaschiano.com and I will be happy to give one to you, free of charge.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Learning From The Past

Most of us have gone through at least one event in our life that has challenged us to the core. Over the next several posts I will pose questions that will help you to examine those events and to identify the resilience skills and attitudes that you tapped; ones that you may not consciously realize or recognize that you have. This exercise will serve as a blueprint for building a resilience plan for yourself.

I recommend getting a notebook or journal. Take you time, ponder the question, and write your response as detailed as possible. After a few days, revisit the question and review your answer. Add to it if necessary.

Question #1: What are events (natural disaster, death of loved one, divorce, financial challenges) that I have experienced in my life that were extremely stressful to me?

To explore more fully how to building a resilience plan for yourself, you may wish to explore the process book I developed, Live A Flourishing Life.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How Good A Listener Are You?

Listening is an essential part of effective communication. Listening is different from hearing. Listening enhances your capacity for understanding and empathy. When you listen to what another is saying, you begin to see the world through his or her viewpoint.

How are you in a conversation? Do you get impatient? Daydream? Multi-task? Focus solely on the person talking with you? Take the test to find out.

Scale: 1 - Always; 2 - Frequently; 3 - Sometimes; 4 - Never

_____ Do you interrupt others or finish their sentences?

_____ Do you find yourself thinking, "Hurry up! Finish the story already!"

_____ When I'm on the telephone, I often engage in another activity.

_____ Do you interrupt to express your point of view?

_____ Do you ever set the phone down, or pull it away from your ear?

_____ Do you urge others to hurry up, with words like "Yeah, yeah" so you can have your turn to speak?

_____ Do you form opinions before he/she has finished talking?

_____ Do you get uncomfortable when there are pauses in a conversation?

_____ Do you often use a speakerphone when the call is solely between you and another?

_____ Are you thinking about your response while the other person is still talking?

"The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them." ~ Ralph Nichols


Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Just because everything is different...

"Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed." ~ Irene Peter

You know the scenario...You're in a job or a relationship where you are not happy, and so you leave. Then you take on a new job, fall head over heels into a new relationship, then at some point in the not so distant future, you find you are unhappy and you are looking to make (yet another) change.

Why does this happen? We have not changed core behaviors and beliefs, and so we keep approaching the different situations with the same behaviors. To successfully reach new and better outcomes we must be committed to the change process. Change is not easy; old habits die hard. Change is especially hard when a behavior or attitude is longstanding. Change requires:
  • thinking differently
  • acting differently
  • commitment

Changing habits begins with recognition, followed by mindful awareness and intention to adjust your thoughts and behaviors until they become habits that serve you.

To adapt habits that make you flourish, you must learn how to manage and maintain balance in your life. You need to look at your past experiences and examine how you were able to successfully change some of your patterns of behavior or attitudes.

Changing habitual behavior is a process. Be patient and be compassionate with yourself. Each of us creates our own journey of releasing bad habits and adopting good habits through conscious choice. Embrace those choices; embrace the changes. They are the catalysts that will improve your life.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Super Words From A Super Man

"We can either watch life from the sidelines, or actively participate...
Either we let self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy 
prevent us from realizing our potential, 
or embrace the fact that when we turn our attention away from ourselves, 
our potential is limitless."
~ Christopher Reeve

In 1995 during an equestrian competition, actor Christopher Reeve was thrown from his horse and instantly paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe.  But he refused, in his own words, to "allow a disability to determine how I live my life."

From the time after his accident up to his death in 2004, Christopher Reeve not only put a human face on spinal cord injury, he motivated neuroscientists around the world to conquer the most complex diseases of the brain and central nervous system.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
Rita
www.ritaschiano.com

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Winning Equation

"The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings can alter their lives 
by altering their attitudes of mind. As you think, so shall you be."
~ William James

Resilience starts with attitude. Attitude about…
  • One's self
  • One's abilities
  • One's goals and dreams
    This begins with self-confidence. Self-confidence is a fundamental conviction about one's competence and abilities. Having a positive self-image is critical if a person is to have the ability to confront and manage fear and anxiety in his or her life.

    A resilient attitude is about one's self-worth. Believing one is worthy of success and happiness is necessary in order to improve one's life. Our self-worth drives our motivation to succeed. This is a winning equation.

    Self-confidence + Self-worth = Self-esteem

    Self-esteem is the combination of our self-confidence and our self-worth. It is the unconditional appreciation of one’s self.

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    *Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Serenity

    The Serenity Prayer

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    the courage to change the things I can;
    and the wisdom to know the difference.

    Written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, most people are familiar with this first stanza. However, Niebuhr’s prayer also included these concepts:
    • Living one day at a time
    • Enjoying one moment at a time
    • Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace
    Often we become anxious about things we cannot change: the economy, the weather, our commute to work. Recognizing the difference between what we can and cannot change can help us live more peaceful and productive lives. Patience and perseverance leads to success in our endeavors.

    The Serenity Prayer has special meaning to those who are often looking for peace during times of turmoil, despair, or uncertainty in their lives. Closely associated with Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs, the Serenity Prayer offers strength and calm into those seeking a more stable life.

    "Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control." ~ James Allen

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    *Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    About Fear and Anxiety

    Fear is a natural reaction of the mind-body system that is triggered by danger. Once danger passes, so does the fear response. The body calms down and returns to normal state of balance.

    Anxiety bypasses the body, trapping panicky thoughts. The voice of fear paints scenarios of disaster that seem believable. And panicky thoughts can quickly become obsessive.

    As anxiety takes hold it becomes more difficult to make rational decisions and the voice of fear becomes more believable. Rationality is bypassed; what you believe is what matters. And most of the time, what we fear, what we worry about never materializes.

    Watch your anxious thoughts. When anxiety or the act of worrying becomes excessive and all consuming, it may be time to talk with your primary care physician.

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    A Little Civility Goes A Long Way

    My town's post office is a tiny building with limited, awkwardly-angled parking. Three steps lead up to a wooden door that opens outward...extremely user-unfriendly, particularly if one is carrying a bulk mail bin, a package, or a young child.

    The other day as I was leaving the post office and crossing the parking lot to my car, I noticed a man approaching and carrying two mid-sized boxes. I stopped and said to him, "Let me go and grab that door for you." As I proceeded back towards the steps leading to the front door, he called to me. "Really, Miss, no need to do that. I can manage."

    Now, I frequent the post office quite a bit, often carrying packages and boxes of books to be mailed out. I know how cumbersome it is to juggle what I'm holding while pulling open a rather heavy door  -- a door, mind you, that has no window, so you never know if someone is about to exit from inside.

    "Really, it's no problem," I said to the gentleman as I continued towards the door.

    As I held open the door for him he stopped and smiled widely. "Thank you," he said. "It's refreshing to know there is least a little civility left in this world."

    While driving home I pondered his remark. I tend to think of civility as good citizenship or orderly behavior, a definition derived more from its original usage. However, the gentleman was referring more to the word's current usage, that is, courtesy in behavior and speech.

    Since the shooting tragedy in Arizona, where nineteen people were shot and six murdered, talk of "civility" has been plentiful. But what about actions? My small action seemed to resonate with this man on a deeper level. I wondered if his non-Caucasian ethnicity meant he elicited less courtesy and respect from others?

    We cannot rely solely on the actions of others to make this world a better place. Each of us must commit to taking small "civil" steps each day...through our words and through our actions. Civility is contagious...help it spread.

    "Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us everyday." ~ Sally Koch

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Characteristics Of Resilient People - 7

    The seventh characteristic of resiliency: Embrace an optimistic attitude...

    Attitude really is everything. Resilient people have a sense of hope and trust in the world. They believe in the basic goodness and decency of people, trusting that things will turn out all right in the end. This positive attitude allows them to weather the bad times and gives them the ability to hope for a better future.



    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    A Study in Gratitude

    The University of California at Davis conducted a study on the effects of gratitude. The researchers were able to actually quantify what happens when people are grateful. Shifts in overall attitude included being:
    • more optimistic
    • more apt to help others
    • more joyful
    • genuinely healthier
    Related studies found that grateful people are more resilient, less stressed, and are better strategic thinkers.

    It is believed, too, that grateful people recovered faster from trauma. The common denominator? All believed in the power of their mind to find relevance in their situation and to make something better come of it.

    Adopt an attitude of gratitude.

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Express Your Love...Today and Always

    For many of us the words "Be My Valentine" were first utter during grade school, when we exchanged Valentines with classmates. Now that we are all grown up, why exactly do we need a holiday to express our heartfelt love and appreciation to one another?

    Make expressing your love, make saying the words "I love you" to lovers, spouses, children, parents, and friends an everyday practice.

    Here's some messages of love through the ages...

    "We say love is blind, and the figure of Cupid is drawn with a bandage around his eyes. Blind — yes, because he does not see what he does not like; but the sharpest-sighted hunter in the universe is Love for finding what he seeks, and only that." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind."  ~ William Shakespeare, from A Midsummer Night's Dream

    “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

    “Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.” ~ Albert Einstein

    “You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ~ Theodore Seuss Geisel, "Dr. Seuss"

    "Love is the strongest force the world possesses, and yet it is the humblest imaginable.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Psychology Today

    A few weeks ago I was honored to have my Stress Management course at Bay Path College discussed in a Psychology Today blog. Dr. Ron Breazeale, in his blog "In the Face of Adversity,"  wrote about how potentially adverse events and circumstances "come in all shapes and sizes, and how distressful they are is usually determined by our perception of them." He went on to write that if we believe that "we have the ability to meet the challenge, or if the demand of the situation is not an important one, we aren't stressed. However, if we don't believe we have the skill or knowledge to manage the situation, but believe we must handle it well, we will feel stressed."

    Training and education about resilience skills and attitudes is key. Last summer I began offering a stress management course to students in the Bay Path College One-Day-A-Week Saturday Program, an accelerated, full-time degree program for women looking to earn an undergraduate degree. The women who enter the One-Day-A-Week Saturday Program are seeking to transform their professional and personal lives.

    The course examines the concepts of stress and its effect on physical and mental performance, how to recognize and tackle stress indicators, examines effective communication and stress reduction, the importance of understanding our past and its affects on stress, breaking through old patterns of thinking, the importance and value of developing a resilience plan, and an in-depth analyses of the factors and characteristics that make up resilience. By the end of the course, the students create for themselves a personal stress management and resilience-building plan.

    To read Dr. Breazeale's blog, "In The Face Of Adversity" go to http://www.psychologytoday.com/em/53107.

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Habits...

    Aristotle proclaimed that there are two times in our lives when our character is shaped. The first is when we are children. At this time our habits and attitudes were shaped by our parents and our early teachers who taught us the best they knew how based on what they learned. These early attitude and habit formations were central to our character development; and sometimes those lessons were negative.

    For Aristotle, a habit or hexis is a determinate power to act in a specific way. Habits can foster the good life by cultivating virtue and by developing the passions to feel pleasure and pain in right ways. Happiness is the "chief good" of human life and the most basic requirement of such a life is "activity of the soul in accordance with complete excellence." (Book I, Nichomachean Ethics)

    To live a flourishing life you begin by uncovering habits that affect how you think and act. Many habits operate without your conscious awareness. Changing habits begins with recognition, followed by mindful awareness and intention to adjust your thoughts and behaviors until they become habits that serve you.

    To adapt habits that make you flourish, you must learn how to manage and maintain balance in your life. You need to look at your past experiences and examine how you were able to successfully change some of your patterns of behavior or attitudes.

    Changing habitual behavior is a process. Be patient and be compassionate with yourself. Each of us creates our own journey of releasing bad habits and adopting good habits through conscious choice. Embrace those choices; embrace the changes. They are the catalysts that will improve your life.

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    *Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

    Monday, January 31, 2011

    Optimism In A Nutshell

    The optimist . . .
    • Views life positively
    • Takes life as it is
    • Is open to possibilities
    • Has a sense of humor
      • particularly about one’s self
    • Is rational
      • Uses reason rather than being led by fears and desires
      • Objectively assesses situations
      • Takes action based on those assessments
    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Characteristics Of Resilient People - 6

    Characteristic #6: Have deep-rooted faith in a system of meaning (religious or philosophical).

    In 1902, William James wrote The Varieties of Religious Experience in which he detailed the universal belief systems of human beings. Now, a little more than a century later, scientists report they have located the part of the brain that controls religious faith — known euphemistically as the 'God spot.' The researchers’ findings support the idea that the brain's evolvement to belief systems was a means of improving our chances of survival, thus a belief in God became widespread in human evolutionary history.

    Regardless as to whether God exists or not, we do know that people with religious or spiritual beliefs tend to be more content and are better able to cope with tragedies and crises. Faith acts as a stimulus, driving us to aspire to achieve the seemingly impossible. Faith drives away fear. Faith frees us from the need to be in control during uncontrollable circumstances.

    "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
    -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    *Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Easy Ways to Introduce Silence In Your Life...

    There are numerous ways to introduce silence and stillness into your life. You can make a commitment to one or two days a month, as Anne LeClaire* did, or you can try one or several of the suggestions below. Use the following pages to journal your process and progress. (*See 1/11/blog posting)
    • When you are home alone, get out of the habit of turning on the television, radio, or sound system.
    • If you have little ones at home, get them involved in the practice of silence. Make it a game. “Who can not speak for 5, 10, or 15 minutes?” You’ll get a little break from the constant chattering of the kids, and they’ll learn a valuable practice at an early age.
    • When in the car alone, turn off your cell phone and the radio.
    • Eat a meal in silence. Silent eating helps you pay closer attention to your food, enhancing the sensory experience of flavors and textures.
    • Designate a certain hour or half-hour of the day as silent time, perhaps in the early morning or before bedtime.
    • Go to sleep in silence.
    • Take a walk in the woods or at a nature sanctuary — someplace far from the madding crowd.
    • When in line at the grocery store, avoid reading the gossip rags, or joining in “complaint conversation” with others in the checkout line.

    These suggestions really are effortless and can make a difference in your life. Give one or two a try. And please share with me ways you have found to introduce silence in your life.

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    *Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Discover the Still, Small Voice Within

    During a traditional Quaker meeting, the Friends sit in silent meditation. No one speaks unless they are moved to do so through the "still, small voice" of God within. As a result, spoken words are often sparse, clear, and wise.

    When practicing silence, listen for that still, small voice within. How will you recognize it?
    • It moves us toward love – for ourselves and others
    • There is a sense of clarity, excitement, relief, an undeniable knowing
    When we make life decisions by listening to the noise – and not the silence – our decisions often are colored by fear. In listening to the voice that speaks to us from within the silence, we may find all the guidance we need to take the right action.

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    *Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Silence is the great teacher...

    "Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it.
    There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge, and stability
    that come from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence." ~ Deepak Chopra

    Noise is a prime environmental cause of stress. Noise pollution triggers the body’s stress response releasing stress hormones into your autonomic nervous system. Studies on the effects of environmental noise show an association between noise exposure and cardiovascular disease.

    On March 31, 2009, Anne D. LeClaire was my guest on my show, Talk To Me… Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People on Blog Talk Radio. Anne has written eight novels, including the critically acclaimed Entering Normal, The Lavender Hour, Every Mother's Son, Sideshow, and Leaving Eden. Her latest book, Listening Below The Noise -- part memoir, part philosophical reflection -- is a look at the importance of silence as a means of achieving awareness and inner peace.

    Since 1992, Anne has practiced silence on the first and third Monday of each month. For twenty-four hours, she does not speak. Her commitment to silence did not come without challenges. However, she stated, the benefits derived outweigh any bumps along the road to peace and serenity.

    I asked Anne what possessed her to commit to the practice of silence? Her response, in a word, ...gratitude. Gratitude called her to silence.

    On that day in 1992, Anne was walking the beach near her home on Cape Cod. "It was an absolutely beautiful day… but that day I was sad because my best friend’s mother was dying and I could do nothing to prevent the pain that was coming to my friend. I think that the element of a tender and sore heart was critical in what followed. I had paused to watch two eider ducks dive in the water. As they stayed underwater for an amazing length of time, I thought, 'Isn’t that like a little miracle of nature that these creatures could stay submerged for longer than I could hold my breath.'" As Anne focused on the eiders, her sadness waned.

    "When we start to feel gratitude about something, it can be like a domino line." She began to think about the many things she was grateful for. "I thought, 'I am so blessed in this moment, I don’t know what to do.' And at that instance, I heard someone behind me say, 'Sit in silence.'" Anne turned around; no one was there. Nothing like that had ever happened to her before or since, but the experience was so profound it called her to attention. "What could that mean? And I thought maybe it just means: Be quiet," Anne explained.

    She went home and told her husband, "I’m not going to talk tomorrow." She spent the next day in silence. The experience, she said, was so profound in so many ways. It was life changing. She heard things in herself that normally were drowned out by too much chatter.

    "I felt so restored and rested at the end of the day…. It slowed things down. We live in such a hectic, noisy world. For this one day I had stepped back from this crazed, media-driven, fear-based crazy world, and had just been in this moment of silence. It was so incredible. I knew I wanted to do it again."

    Anne began to see what happens when we make space for creative thoughts to rise up. She began to read about sounds and how artists and musicians talk about the need for silence in the creative process. Silence, she said, has been "one of my greatest teachers, giving me a center from which to live, strengthening me, testing me, and facilitating deep healing."

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    *Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Characteristics of Resilient People - 5

    The fifth characteristic of resilient people is having a healthy social support network.

    Good friends help us get through the tough times. They help us to get tasks done (clean up after a flood, for example); they listen and validate our feelings. It is important to remember that no one person can be expected to be the 'be all and end all' of support. Often it takes several friends, each of whom provide different types of support. Resilient people are good at making friends and keeping them.

    Often we find that 'life' gets in the way -- family obligations, kids ballgames or concerts, household tasks, to name a few -- and we let those friendships slide. We have good intentions to get together, share a meal, but we keep delaying and delaying. (As the old maxim goes: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.)

    If keeping in touch with those special friends has diminished to a quick e-mail, text messaging, or 140 characters on Twitter or Facebook…. Stop! Instead of booting up the computer, pick up the telephone. Hear the sound of your friend’s voice. Meet for a 30-minute cup of coffee if a two-hour dinner date doesn’t fit into your hectic schedule. Make a face-to-face connection...at least once a month, every month.

    Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
    Rita
    www.ritaschiano.com

    To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

    *Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Developing An Attitude of Optimism

    I was fortunate to grow up with women who were remarkable optimists. My mother and my maternal grandmother — women who lived through great difficulties, such as the Great Depression, single-parenting, loss of children and spouses — still managed to demonstrate the belief that things will always work out in the end.

    I was well into my teenage years when I learned that not everyone grew up learning this positive outlook. A dear, childhood friend was taught differently. She received messages such as:
    • Feeling good about yourself? Be forewarned. There will always be someone who can’t wait to knock you down. 
    • Just because you did well today doesn’t mean you will tomorrow. 
    • If you expect the worst, you’ll never be disappointed.
      According to Dr. Martin Seligman’s theory of learned optimism, optimistic children grow up to be optimistic teenagers and adults. In his book, Learned Optimism, Seligman states that there are three factors that determine a learned optimistic paradigm:
      1. Optimism is acquired from our mothers. How our mothers reacted to problems set the stage for our own reaction to difficult situations. If mom dealt with everyday problems with a bright and hopeful outlook, then we, as children, learned to do the same.
      2. Optimism is influenced by the adults around us. The way adults (parents, teachers) chastise us can leave a lasting impression on how we perceive our own abilities. (Thank God for my mom and grandmother. I attended Catholic school in the 1960s…. Enough said.)
      3. Optimism is shaped by family turmoil. Family crises such as divorce or the untimely or tragic death of a family member, can contribute to a child’s general view of life later life. 
      I'll leave you today with a thought from Harry Truman: A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities; an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.

      Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
      Rita
      www.ritaschiano.com

      To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

      Monday, January 3, 2011

      Characteristics of Resilient People - 4

      The fourth characteristic of resilient people is the ability to hang tough during difficult times. Sometimes things just don't go our way. We anticipate certain outcomes, and then life throws us a high-speed curve ball.

      It's okay to wallow in a little self-pity....temporarily. This allows the negative thoughts and emotions to flush out of our system. How quickly you extricate yourself from the muck and mire of negativity depends on the strength of your resilience skills. Adversity builds resilience.

      Resilient people are good at managing their emotions. They stay calm under pressure and persevere, and keep their focus on the goal for the long-haul. One way to do this is to sift through the external demands and keep potential distractions at bay. You have to be mindful, too, about the value of your actions and let go of old patterns and ways of doing things. Rigidity is detrimental to resilience.

      In the words of Don Schiltz who wrote The Gambler, and performed by Kenny Rogers: "You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em; know when to walk away."

      Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.
      Rita
      www.ritaschiano.com

      To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.